I am sitting on the porch at the river house in Belhaven, thinking back to the many moments Ed and I spent down here dreaming of the idea of a Hudson. The first was in October 2004—Ed and I had just begun dating when he brought me down here for the first time during our fall break. Our very first picture together is of him kissing my cheek as we stood down at the end of the dock just before we left to come back home. He may not have known it yet, but I already knew that I would spend the rest of my life with him and, if we were lucky, raise children with him. Seventeen months later, he proposed in that exact same spot. Six months after that, we were married in the yard a few hundred feet from there—we spoke unforgettable vows to each other and created a new family. Two years and two months later, in November 2008, we brought Hudson here for the first and only time, when I was 36.5 weeks pregnant with her. We did not come again until two weeks after she died. I have truly mixed feelings about that last fact—I can’t decide if I feel less sad here because she’s never been here or even sadder because she’s never been here.
We spent this past weekend with my family at my dad’s house in Pittsboro. All my siblings were there, along with about half of their children. While it was wonderful to be with them again for the first time since Hudson’s memorial services, I had somehow not anticipated how difficult that first family gathering without her would be. Her absence was so terribly conspicuous. My hands were so terribly idle. Seven of my nieces and nephews were there, and as I watched them and played with them, I just couldn’t stop thinking about all the things Hudson and I will never do together. I will never get to brush the tangles out of her hair and then braid it, like I did for my niece Rachel yesterday. I will never get to help her learn to float on her back in the water, like I did for my niece Rebekah. I will never get to praise her for learning to use the potty, like I did my niece Emma. Mommy, Interrupted.
As I packed to head down to NC for this weekend, I grabbed my knitting bag on a whim. In it was the half-finished baby blanket I began knitting for Hudson before she was born. It is lime green—because we didn’t know what we were having and because it matched the sea creature theme we had picked for the nursery—and it is covered with patterned squares. It was supposed to be an “8-hour Baby Blanket”—I picked it figuring I would have no problem finishing it before she was born. But I was a beginning knitter, the pattern was more complicated than I realized, and “8 hours” is just not 8 hours when you work at a law firm. I was probably still working on it during that last trip to Belhaven just 16 short days before she came into the world. And, well, you can imagine the rest.
I’m sitting here on the porch at Belhaven, finishing the blanket. I have no idea what I’m going to do with it, but for some reason, I just feel like I need to finish it. For her. For me. For us. God, I miss her so much.
P.S. If you post comments and are inclined to leave your name, leave a last initial, too, if you don't mind. I'm amazed at how many people I know with the same first names. Thanks.